The best ever nut roast with pistachios and cranberries
Nut roast is the vegetarian’s turkey, some crave something different but for others it’s not Christmas without it. A lover or a hater – this one is different, a flavour packed mushroom risotto base, sticky cranberries sit on the top a bit like a savoury upside down cake. When I have meat eaters and veggies together for Christmas this is always gone before the turkey… just saying! You can make the nut roast mixture the day before and keep it in the fridge, just don’t add the eggs. For vegans you can easily omit the cheese and the eggs as the mixture will still hold together, or if you like use a vegan alternative.
A small handful of dried porcini
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
150g of risotto rice or pearl barley
100ml of white wine
500ml of good hot vegetable stock
200g of mixed wild mushrooms
100g of pistachios, toasted
100g of almonds toasted
a handful of breadcrumbs from good bread
125g of good cheddar cheese
1 red chilli, finely chopped
the zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
2 sprigs of each, sage rosemary, thyme, leaves picked and chopped
200g of fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
First make the risotto base.
Soak the dried porcini in a little boiling water. Add the olive oil to a large pan, add the onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Turn up the heat and add the rice, cook the rice for a minute or so until you hear it snap, crackle and pop, then add the wine and stir until it has all bee absorbed.
Drain the mushrooms, sieve any grit from the liquor and add this to the risotto pan stirring until it is completely absorbed. Finely chop the soaked porcini and add these to the pan too.
Then add ladle by ladle of stock, stirring each one in until it has been completely absorbed this will take 20 minutes or so. Stir as much as you can this is what will make it creamy. Once the rice is al dente (when you break into a grain it should be almost cooked through but still have a little white fleck in the middle). Once you are happy put in a bowl to cool.
Heat the oven to 180C.
Fry the mushrooms in a little olive oil on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until they are just starting to crisp and smell lovely and woody. Bash the nuts a little to break them down, you can do this in a food processor, you want coarse pieces not a powder.
Once the risotto is cooled add all the other ingredients apart form the cranberries and sugar and mix and mix well.
Put the sugar into a pan the cranberries and cook for a minute or two, then tip them into the bottom of the loaf tin and even out. Pile on the nut roast mixture and pack down with the back of a spoon.
Butter a 20cm loaf tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
Cover with the whole thing with foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Once it’s golden brown on top remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes. Lay you serving platter or board on top of the tin then cover your hand with a tea towel and courageously flip the whole lot over, use a knife tolosen the tin then carefully lift off. Serve with all the trimmings.
Recipe originally published in Jamie Magazine
Image: Jonathan Gregson